Universities in Lithuania

Šiauliai University

Šiauliai, Lithuania
Šiauliai University was established in 1997 through the merger of two other institutions, and now describes itself as a ‘classical type higher education institution’. The school is placed in the northern region of Lithuania, boasting with a community of about 12000 students and 8 faculties -Arts, Education, Humanities, Mathematics and Informatics, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Social Welfare and Disability Studies, Technology and Continuing Studies Institute. The types of degrees offered are bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional ones.An interesting point is that... See full description.

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About universities in Lithuania

Lithuania, or its official name, the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in Northern Europe and the largest of the three Baltic States.  Bordered by Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Belarus and the Baltic Sea, Lithuania has a population of just over 3 million, and its largest city and capital is Vilnius.  Higher education is a very important part of the Lithuanian fabric, and students here are urged to take advantage of the many academic and professional opportunities available.

Higher Education in Lithuania:  Two Types

In Lithuania there are two types of higher education institutions to which students can apply upon graduation from upper secondary school (high school):  universities and colleges.  Universities can be of three types, depending on the type of courses they offer, including academies (akademijoje), seminaries (seminarijoje), and higher education institutions (aukštojoje mokykloje).  Each of these types of universities focuses primarily on academic studies, ultimately leading to undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees.

Colleges in Lithuania, while also considered higher education institutions, focus primarily on professional and career studies.  Graduates from these schools earn a certificate or professional license, and have the option of immediately pursuing the career for which they studied or entering the university at either the undergraduate or integrated studies level, depending on the type of professional qualification earned.

The colleges and universities in Lithuania are classified as state or non-state.  State schools are those funded by the Republic of Lithuania and accredited, while non-state institutions offer activities leading to professional licenses that are issued by the federal government.


Colleges in Lithuania, also called non-university level institutions, offer programs spanning from 3-4 years, depending on the professional field being studied, and students must earn a minimum of 120 national credits to graduate.  To qualify for admission, students must hold a Maturity Certificate (Brandos Atestasas), a type of diploma from upper secondary school.  All programs of study in colleges are one-level, with course offerings in a number of different career fields.  These studies lead to a nationally recognized professional qualification, along with a higher education diploma.


As with most countries in Europe, the university studies in Lithuania are divided into three distinct stages or cycles:  university undergraduate studies, graduate studies and post-graduate studies.  This structure is rather new to the Lithuanian system of higher education, and is the direct result of the Bologna Process, designed to standardize university education throughout Europe.

First Stage

The courses of studies at the undergraduate or first stage level, which usually take 4-5 years to complete, are primarily academic in nature, with subjects ranging anywhere from accounting to zoology.  These programs of study are developed by each individual university; however, they must first be approved by the Ministry of Education and Science before being offered.  At this first stage of education, students can pursue studies leading to a Bachelor degree, a professional qualification or both.

Second Stage

The second stage, which is also called the Master’s Degree level, spans approximately two years and requires the completion of 60-80 national credits.  Here students pursue advanced studies in the same or similar area in which they earned their undergraduate degree.  Courses at this level lead to a deeper scientific knowledge of the subject matter, and prepare students to perform independent research. At the conclusion of this 2nd cycle students will have earned a “Magistro Diploma,” or Master’s Degree, or a Higher Education Diploma, with the latter reserved for students who pursued studies more professional in nature and leading to a specific career.

Third Stage

Finally, the third stage of education in Lithuania can be categorized as doctorate-level studies or residency.  Doctorate programs are generally very research-oriented and typically last 3-4 years.  Students need to hold a minimum of a Master’s Degree to be considered for admittance, and their studies at this level culminate with a dissertation that must be presented to the university.  Residency studies, which span 2-6 years, are reserved exclusively for studies in Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine.  To be admitted, students must possess an advanced integrated studies qualification or the equivalent.  On completion of their studies students will receive a Residency Certificate (Rezidentūros pažymėjimas) qualifying them to practice in their selected field.

Unlike the United States where teacher education and training can usually takes place at any of the country’s colleges and universities, students wishing to become teachers in Lithuania, particularly at the secondary level, must attend one of the five universities in which these types of programs are sponsored.  Those wishing to teach at one of the country’s higher education institutions must possess, at minimum, a Master’s Degree to begin such a career, and be enrolled in an approved doctorate program.

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